Berklee Alumni Win Grammys on Music’s Biggest Night

By 
Eugene Ahn
January 27, 2020
Press release
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To date, 126 Berklee alumni have received 297 Grammy Awards, popular music’s highest honor.

Esperanza Spalding at Berklee's 2018 commencement concert
Image by Kelly Davidson

Berklee alumni were recognized with the music industry’s highest honor on Sunday, January 26, at the 62nd Grammy Awards. Esperanza Spalding B.M. ‘05 ’18H and Charlton Singleton B.M. ‘89 took home gold-plated trophies on a night celebrating the year’s top albums, songs, and productions. To date, 126 Berklee alumni have received 297 Grammy Awards

Spalding won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album for 12 Little Spells, which was also nominated in the category for Best Arrangement, Instruments, and Vocals. The album reached no. 1 on BIllboard’s Jazz Albums chart, and no. 31 on BIllboard’s Top Album Sales. It received wide critical acclaim and was named the fourth best album of the year by Jon Pareles of the New York Times. This is the fourth win and seventh Grammy nomination for Spalding, who earned her first Grammy for Best New Artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011.

Singleton took home his first Grammy as a member of the American music ensemble Ranky Tanky, winning in the Best Regional Roots Album category for the group’s second studio album, Good Time. Singleton played trumpet and contributed vocals to the album, which reached no. 1 on the Billboard, iTunes, and Amazon jazz charts in 2019. 

A number of alumni and faculty contributed to Grammy-winning productions this year. Chris Galland B.M. ‘07 was a mixing engineer on Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You, the winner for Best Urban Contemporary Album. Engineers Oscar Zambrano B.M. ‘03 and Fernando Lodeiro B.M. ‘07 also contributed to Spalding’s 12 Little Spells. Brian Riordan B.M. ‘95 was a mixing engineer on Dave Chappelle’s Sticks & Stones, which won for Best Comedy Album.

Boston Conservatory at Berklee faculty members Sarah Brady, Jan Halloran, and Margaret Phillips, and alumnus Nick Tolle (B.M. ‘05, percussion) contributed to the Boston Modern Orchestra Project's Fantastic Mr. Fox, which won the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. Conservatory alumnus John Krause (B.F.A. ‘12, musical theater) was part of the ensemble for Hadestown, which won Best Musical Theater Album.

A list of Berklee alumni and faculty who won 2019 Grammys is below. This list will be updated as additional winners are confirmed. 

Category 32: Best Jazz Vocal Album

12 Little Spells - Esperanza Spalding B.M. ‘05

Category 52: Best Regional Roots Album

Good Time (Ranky Tanky) - Charlton Singleton B.M. ’89, trumpet/vocalist 

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